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Chapter 8: Paleo Food Guide

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Shopping for foods that are Paleo friendly can be a daunting task when you’re first starting out. What’s allowed and what’s not? What are all of those mystery ingredients that are listed on food labels? For the most part, stocking your refrigerator and pantry is fairly simple, but there are going to be times when you don’t want to eat just steak and broccoli, and there will be other times when you need something fast and simple. Don’t worry—you’ll get the hang of it.

There are a few different versions of the Paleo diet, but for the sake of this discussion, we’re going to take the modern middle road so that it’s easier for you to make the transition to your new, healthier lifestyle. Throughout the following pages, we’re going to discuss what foods are okay and where you can find them. We’ll also discuss some alternate ingredients for baking bread and other goodies that won’t get you kicked out of the cave!

The first bit of good news is that you’re not going to be counting calories. Instead, you’re going to try to keep your portions in line with what your ancestors most likely ate. A diet that consists of 50 to 60 percent protein, 30 to 40 percent healthy carbs, and 5 to 10 percent healthy vegetable fats such as extra-virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds is the general goal.

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Chapter 4: Flatbreads, Rolls, Muffins, and Pizza Dough

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Chapter 6: The Benefits of Paleo

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Many people turn to the Paleo diet because of the weight-loss benefits, but that’s not where the idea originated. If you remember, the diet was created by a gastroenterologist to help his patients with various disorders. Of course, weight loss is a wonderful side effect that has its own set of healthy benefits.

When you add in the myriad other perks, going caveman is almost a no-brainer. Let’s take a quick peek at some of the biggest health benefits of following a Paleo diet.

Because this is one of the primary reasons many people decide to switch to a Paleo diet, we’ll start here. Because you’re eliminating empty carbs and adding in lots of healthful plant fiber and lean protein, losing weight will be much easier. A few other factors that contribute to healthy weight loss include:

The bottom line is you will be consuming foods that help your body function the way that it’s supposed to, and one of the natural side effects of that is weight loss.

The theory behind the Paleo diet is that eating grains, dairy, and other foods on the excluded list can cause digestive upset, inflammation, and discomfort because our bodies aren’t adapted to eating them. Also, your digestive tract needs fiber to help it sweep food through your system, otherwise it builds up and causes problems. Some of the conditions that may be improved by going caveman include:

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Chapter 9: 10 Tips for Living Paleo

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Just as with any change, adjusting to the Paleo diet will take you some time. After all, you’re not only changing your diet, you’re changing the way you think about food. Ingredients that you’ve known and loved for most of your life are now strictly off-limits. If you’re allowing yourself to have caffeine (which many Paleo dieters do not), then it’s probably the only part of your morning meal that will remain the same.

Now you’re going to be eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, so you shouldn’t ever be hungry. If you are, just eat something! You’re not going to be counting calories, but you still need to be cautious about what you eat because, just as in most diets, all Paleo-approved foods are not equal. You’re going to hit some rough spots, too, so here are some tips to get you through.

If you’re serious about changing your lifestyle and want to be successful with your transition, submerge yourself in it completely. Clear all of the non-Paleo foods from your pantry and your refrigerator, and head to the grocery store. Don’t buy anything that isn’t on your list, and don’t stop for a “final burger” on your way home.

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Chapter 7: The Trouble with Gluten

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We’ve discussed many of the health benefits of switching to a Paleo diet, but one of the main benefits is that the foods enjoyed in the Paleo diet don’t have gluten in them. For millions of people worldwide, eating caveman-style is a relatively simple way to avoid digestive upset and even the cancers that are caused by an allergy to gluten.

Latin for “glue,” gluten is a protein found in wheat and grains that gives ground flours elasticity and helps them to rise. It’s also the binding component that gives bread its chewy texture and keeps it from crumbling apart after baking. Gluten can be removed from flour because it is insoluble in water. Typically when you remove the gluten, you also lose all of the good properties that make breads and cakes what they are.

Without gluten, your baked goods won’t rise and they’ll have a grainy, crumbly texture. They won’t taste anything like their gluten-laden cousins, and you probably won’t want to eat more than the first bite. Because of an increasing demand for gluten-free products, food corporations have dedicated a tremendous amount of time and money into creating tasty, effective, gluten-free products. Unfortunately, most commercially prepared gluten-free recipe mixes still fall short.

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